History of Stained Glass
There are many good reasons for the student to study the history of stained glass; first, to truly excel, the student should be aware of the romance of the medium. Henry Willet would talk extensively of the “lust and the lure and the love of stained glass.” While this cliché is admittedly melodramatic, it nevertheless gives an accurate feel for the attitude of someone who was passionate about the craft. Second, an appreciation of the history of stained glass will foster a dispassionate, critical approach in the student when appraising stained glass. The student of stained glass is urged to approach the medium with an informed, non-prejudiced understanding of the various styles to be encountered.jone
Informed observation will free the student’s imagination for design, not to copy but rather to inspire. There are many excellent resources available for the study of stained glass and the student is urged to acquire a library of reference books that illustrate and describe specific installations in detail. However, there is no substitute for actually viewing stained glass in situ; that is, in its architectural surroundings.
A comprehensive bibliography follows this chapter. Because this volume is intended as a reference of techniques for the stained glass artist and not as a history of the craft, this chapter should serve only as a starting point for the student who wishes to develop a deeper appreciation of the history of craft.
It should also be noted that there are many periods that are imperfectly documented. For instance, 60 stained glass businesses were listed in Philadelphia’s city directories before 1900. None of those studios exist today, and little is known about them.